The Jobs and Capabilities of the CEO Work Portfolio

CEO Work Portfolio Charles Pfeffer

Within the CEO Work Portfolio, there are jobs and capabilities. As a CEO, viewing your role through the lens of your main jobs – strategy, Board and investors, and running the business – and developing the capabilities of managing energy, managing relationships, managing conversations, and leveraging systems and structures, will help you increase your effectiveness and help you to regain agency and autonomy of your life and work.



It’s your job to create or to see to it that strategy is created, understood, aligned around, and executed, including strategic adjustments in the execution. 

Board and Investors

Public company CEOs are hired by the Board, which is chartered to protect the interests of the investors under securities law. As a CEO, your role is to engage with the Board wisely, diplomatically, and purposefully to support and promote a well-designed strategy. Remember, the Board’s main job is to hire you and to replace you when you’re ready or if you are failing.

Investors come in different sizes and shapes and have their own strategies and priorities. Which investors you focus on attracting ought to be a consequence of your strategy, though it’s not easy to completely control the mix. 

Running the Business

This is what new CEOs usually think of as their whole job. They are surprised to learn that there is so much else involved. Running the business entails the execution of strategy. This means selecting key leaders and chartering the operating mechanisms through which direction is set, decisions get made, performance is reviewed, and people get developed. CEOs don’t do the work (mostly). They choose the leaders who create the environment in which the work gets done. Then they engage those leaders and others in the organization through a series of conversations designed to focus the energy of the enterprise toward the successful execution of the strategy. Exhausted CEOs forget that it’s not their job to do the work.


Managing Energy

This capability is a matter of self-awareness. What energizes you? What saps your strength? If you don’t know how to give yourself energy, you will have a hard time giving it to others. Each of your three jobs, and especially running the business, requires that you generate m